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|11th (2nd Acting) and 13 President of Bangladesh|
6 December 1990 – 10 October 1991
|Prime Minister||Khaleda Zia|
|Preceded by||Hussain Muhammad Ershad|
|Succeeded by||Abdur Rahman Biswas|
9 October 1996 – 14 November 2001
|Prime Minister||Hasina Wazed
Latifur Rahman (Acting)
|Preceded by||Abdur Rahman Biswas|
|Succeeded by||Badruddoza Chowdhury|
|Chief Justice of Bangladesh|
14 January 1990 – 1 January 1995
|Preceded by||Badrul Haider Chowdhury|
|Succeeded by||Muhammad Habibur Rahman|
1 February 1930 |
Pemal Village, Kendua Thana, Netrokona, Bengal Presidency, British India
(now in Bangladesh)
|Alma mater||University of Dhaka|
Shahabuddin Ahmed (born 1 February 1930) was the 11th and 13th President of Bangladesh. He also served as the Chief Justice of the country. He took over the office of President after a popular uprising against President Hussain Mohammad Ershad in 1991 for what constitution of the country had been amended through 11th amendment. After the resumption of democracy, he returned to his duties as the Chief Justice following the amendment. Later, he served as the President from 1996 to 2001. During his first time in the Presidential office as the 11th President, he was just an Acting President, making him the second Acting President after Syed Nazrul Islam. Later when he again took over the office in 1996 he became the 13th President.
Early life, education and service
Ahmed's father was Talukdar Resat Ahmed Bhuiyan, a philanthropist. Ahmed earned his B.A. (Hons) in Economics in 1951 and M.A. in International Relations in 1952 from the University of Dhaka. Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed was born in 1930 in village Pamal of Kendua in the greater Mymensingh district. His father late Talukder Risat A. Bhuiyan was a renowned social worker and philanthropist of the locality. After passing the Matriculation and intermediate examinations he took admission into the University of Dhaka in 1948, obtained B.A. (Hons) in Economics in 1951 and M.A. in International Relations in 1952 as a resident student of Fazlul Haq Hall. He entered the Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) in 1954 through a competitive examination, completed training in the Lahore Civil Service Academy and in the United Kingdom. He attended a special course in Public Administration in University of Oxford. He was Sub-Divisional Officer of Gopalganj and Natore. For his administrative ability, Natore was adjudged as one of the best administered Subdivisions of the country. He was Additional Deputy Commissioner of Faridpur. For his efficient management of revenue affairs and land settlement matters he earned high appreciation from the Board of Revenue, in particular, from its senior member Mr. Hatch Barnwell.
Mr. Shahabuddin was transferred to the judicial branch in1960. He worked as Additional District and Session Judge of Dhaka and Barisal, and as District and Sessions Judge of Comilla and Chittagong. He also served as Registrar of the High Court of the then East Pakistan. He was elevated to the Bench of the High Court on 20 January 1972. Acted on deputation at the Labour Appellate Tribunal for two years, 1973 and 1974. In that connection, he attended a number of international conferences and seminars on Labour Law, Social Security Legislations, Labour Management Relations and Productivity, in particular, he attended a Round Table Conference on Labour in Geneva and another in Silva de Fesano (Italy).
He was Chairman, Bangladesh Red Cross Society, from August 1978 to April 1982 in addition to his duties as Judge of the Supreme Court. As Chief Executive of the Red Cross Society, he reorganized and, particularly rebuilt the society and enhanced its image in the sphere of International Red Cross and earned applause for the society's successful implementation of a number of emergency relief operations and cyclone preparedness programme. He set up a number of Rural Hospitals Maternity Centres, in particular, the Teligati Red Cross Hospital (Netrakona) which is financed by the Swiss Red Cross. He represented Bangladesh Red Cross Society in a number of international conferences and seminars which included, among others, the Conference of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies of the Islamic countries (OIC) in Benghazi (Libya), a seminar on Red Cross and Primary Health Care in Frunze, Kirghizi (USSR), International Red Cross Conference in Jakarta and Manila, He was a member of the Bangladesh Government delegation to the 10th Conference of Foreign Ministers of the Islamic countries (OIC) held in Fez, Morocco in 1979 where the question of setting up an International Islamic Red Crescent Society was debated. He visited various Red Cross Societies Institutions of North Korea, China and Japan on invitations of the Red Cross Societies of North Korea, China and Japan in 1981. On his initiative the Family Planning and Population Control was included in the main function of the Bangladesh Red Cross.
He was appointed a Judge of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh on 7 February 1980 and was confirmed in this office on 15 April 1981. He reputed to be a strong disciplinarian and hardworking officer all through and his disposal of cases in all branches of law is one of the highest in the country. A great number of his decisions have been reported in the Dhaka Law Reports, Bangladesh Legal Decisions and Bangladesh Case reports. In service matters’ election disputes and Labour-Management Relation, some of his judgments and observation have been highly appreciated. His decision on the 8th Amendment of the Constitution of Bangladesh was hailed as a 'landmark' in the constitutional development of the country. There, among other things, he criticized the tendency of the Third World Dictatorships to abrogate Constitutions for self-aggrandizement and coterie rule under the thin veil of democracy, for curtailing fundamental rights of citizens, violation of human rights, challenge to people's sovereignty and denial of the independence of judiciary and substituting rule by Flat for rule of Law. He also deplored for curtailing the traditional powers of the High Court regarding appointment, promotion, transfer, leave and control of subordinate judiciary by the Executive Branch of the Government.
He was the Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry established under the Commission of Inquiry Act on police firing on, student in mid-February of 1983. He was Chairman of the National Pay Commission in 1984 and submitted a report on the basis of which upward revision of pay scale was made.
As Chief Justice he attended the International Appellate Judges Conference in Washington DC in September 1990. Justice Shahabuddin took charge as Acting President of Bangladesh on 6th December 1990. He resigned on 9 October,'91. He resumed as Chief Justice on 10 October 1991. Chief Justice Mr. Shahabuddin Ahmed retired from service on 1 February 1995.
Caretaker government (1990—1991)
After the resignation of the-then President Hussain Muhammad Ershad on 6 December 1990, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh who was appointed Vice President earlier on the day took over as the Acting President of the country. Ahmed was chosen by all political parties including Ershad to hold interim government that would oversee the neutral election to Parliament. Immediately upon taking over the office of the highest executive, Ahmed placed his predecessor under arrest.
As the President, Ahmed administered the oath of office to his Council of Advisors at Bangabhaban on 9 December 1990 and held the first meeting on 15 December 1990. After the fifth JS elections held on 27 February 1991, Shahabuddin Ahmed returned to his original post of the Chief Justice. Bangladesh switched from Presidential to Parliamentary form of Government. He retired from the court on 1 February 1995.
Ershad challenged the action of Ahmed to arrest him, which went all the way up to the Supreme Court. On a ruling it declared the arrest was illegal. Ershad was in jail from 1991 to 1996.
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Ahmed is married to Anowara Begum. Together they have two sons and three daughters.
Badrul Haider Chowdhury
|Chief Justice of Bangladesh
Muhammad Habibur Rahman
Hussain Muhammad Ershad
|President of Bangladesh
Abdur Rahman Biswas
Abdur Rahman Biswas
|President of Bangladesh